The Right Stuff

Friday, January 14th, 2011 by Charles Mayfield, CFP®


Being cooped up in the house for a few days this past week got me thinking.  How does one adequately prepare for lots of snow and ice?  The south is especially vulnerable to the crippling effects that inclement weather can have simply due to how seldom we get it.  In times of anxiety and feverish preparation for bad weather, here are my top 5 tips on making sound decisions that will save you in the long run:

Your Grocery List:  Pass on the milk and bread staples that most folks flock to.  You’ll need the following:

•  Fill your freezer with Meat. It will still be good a month from now (if you don’t use it) and a chuck roast takes up as much room as a single frozen meal.  Buy cuts of meat that can be easily cooked in a slow cooker.

•  Batteries. Candles are a fire hazard and if power goes out flashlights can get you to and from bed.  Time to catch up on that much needed sleep.

•  Water.  Loading up on 12 gallons of milk is overkill and water is plenty good for you.  Tap water will do for most folks.  However, if your pipes burst you’ll need a backup.

•  Snacks. Items that don’t have to be refrigerated will come in handy if you lose power.  And if you have children in the house, you know how hungry they can get when they’re bored and restless.

 Salt the House/Driveway:  the DOT isn’t going to make your sidewalk, driveway or carport safe to walk on.  The financial and physical impact of a fall at your house can ring loudly for months to come.  Make sure you can safely traverse your surroundings.

• You don’t have to salt the entire driveway.  Just make two strips for your tires and you should be good.

• Keep a big bag of rock salt laying around in the basement for such emergencies.  You will avoid having to go out and get it when you shouldn’t be driving the roads in the first place.

Stay Home:  Getting out on hazardous roads will only lead to car damage.  If you’re getting stir crazy, go for a walk and enjoy the scenery.  It’s not worth the agony of an accident or car repair to make it into the office.  Your boss will understand.

Learn to cook:  Even if you’re a seasoned veteran of the kitchen, chances are that you have a meal or entree that you want to perfect.  You’ll likely have plenty of time on your hands.  Why not learn to make a killer pot roast or play around with a new recipe for lasagna or chicken soup?   The ability to call upon an awesome recipe in a pinch is a skill most would like to have.


Be Neighborly:  Check on those around you.  Be sure everyone is OK.  A small investment of your time can pay big dividends should you ever need a favor, such as having someone watch your house while you’re out of town.  Take this opportunity to be a good friend and neighbor.

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